Porphyria Essay

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How is porphyria treated? Treatment for porphyria depends on the type of porphyria the person has and the severity of the symptoms. Acute Porphyrias A health care provider treats acute porphyrias with heme or glucose loading to decrease the liver’s production of porphyrins and porphyrin precursors. A patient receives heme intravenously once a day for 4 days. Glucose loading involves giving a patient a glucose solution by mouth or intravenously. Heme is usually more effective and is the treatment of choice unless symptoms are mild. In rare instances, if symptoms are severe, a health care provider will recommend liver transplantation to treat acute porphyria. In liver transplantation, a surgeon removes a diseased or an injured liver and replaces it with a healthy, whole liver or a segment of a liver from another person, called a donor. A patient has liver transplantation surgery in a hospital under general anesthesia. Liver transplantation can cure liver failure. Read more in Liver Transplantation at www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov. Cutaneous Porphyrias The most important step a person can take to treat a cutaneous porphyria is to avoid sunlight as much as possible. Other cutaneous porphyrias are treated as follows: •Porphyria cutanea tarda. A health care provider treats porphyria cutanea tarda by removing factors that tend to activate the disease and by performing repeated therapeutic phlebotomies to reduce iron in the liver. Therapeutic phlebotomy is the removal of about a pint of blood from a vein in the arm. A technician performs the procedure at a blood donation center, such as a hospital, clinic, or bloodmobile. A patient does not require anesthesia. Another treatment approach is low-dose hydroxychloroquine tablets to reduce porphyrins in the liver. •Erythropoietic protoporphyria. People with erythropoietic protoporphyria may be given beta-carotene

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